Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Van der Kolk believes strongly that dancers — and musicians and actors — may have something to teach psychiatrists about healing from trauma and that even the hokey-sounding is worthy of our attention.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Weird Dreams

Yesterday I dreamed I was holding an infant. I threw a ball to play fetch with him. I clapped the baby on the back thinking he would chase the ball but he cried instead.

Today I dreamed I was in an 80's Oldsmobile with Lori Colwin driving. I told her I was a huge fan of her books. We discussed May Sarton's book Journal of a Solitude. She said she wasn't sure if she would like May Sarton as a person. I said perhaps it doesn't matter, the book is great.

Then, she accidentally drove over Bill's foot.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Richard Rhodes

If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent, whatever that is. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me if I do? You’re a human being, with a unique story to tell, and you have every right. If you speak with passion, many of us will listen. We need stories to live, all of us. We live by story. Yours enlarges the circle.
― Richard Rhodes

Richard Rhodes

If you’re afraid you can’t write, the answer is to write. Every sentence you construct adds weight to the balance pan. If you’re afraid of what other people will think of your efforts, don’t show them until you write your way beyond your fear. If writing a book is impossible, write a chapter. If writing a chapter is impossible, write a page. If writing a page is impossible, write a paragraph. If writing a paragraph is impossible, write a sentence. If writing even a sentence is impossible, write a word and teach yourself everything there is to know about that word and then write another, connected word and see where their connection leads.
― Richard Rhodes

Cara Hoffman

Lauren was familiar with vigilance because she'd felt it for most of her life; been gifted with the ability to read the air in a room, a hair out of place, a single sentence for the wealth of information beneath it. For the premonition it will give you. The sound of the lipstick case snapping shut, a bag being zipped, a throat being cleared, the clink of a light chain against the mirror at 4 A.M. These are just some of the little things that mean you might be a soldier one day.
- Cara Hoffman, Be safe I Love You

Monday, May 19, 2014

Acoustic Ecology

What if before you move into a new place and sign that expensive lease you could find out how noisy your new neighborhood is going to be at various times of day? TenderNoise is an applied acoustic ecology project in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco that measures the area’s sound decibels and gives estimations of when noise levels are at their loudest, and where it’s coming from: music, heavy trucks, raised human voices, SFPD sirens or construction. It could even forewarn you that your adorable, potential neighbor’s apartment doubles as a German Bass club at night.

TenderNoise was developed by esteemed design studio Stamen, building consultancy Arup, and data mapping company Movity, so it’s got a pretty legit pedigree. To compile data for this project, they stationed thirteen decibel readers at several major intersections in the Tenderloin to gather all of the sound information. So potential Tenderloin tenants, who were formerly at the mercy of their realtor or landlord’s good word on how “peaceful and quiet” any given block might be, can now simply check the TenderNoise map to see if the area is right for them.

While TenderNoise lets you avoid city noises, a web app on the opposite coast embraces the cacophany. You Are Listening To mixes city sounds like NYPD radio streams with synthy tones to create music from each city—the result is modern symphonies of major cities like: L.A., New York, San Francisco and Montreal.
By Anne Louise Korallus-Shapiro


Urban Noise

How Do You Tell a Whole City to Shush? By Elizabeth Weingarten

Noise as an urban plague should be addressed in broader terms that allow for quality-of-life improvements for people living in noise-riddled areas, rather than those that can hop into a quiet spot to recharge. One such effort came about in San Francisco's Tenderloin district, a part of the city where very low-income individuals reside. Residents often complained about the noise, but the city was reluctant to make changes without data to prove that the noise levels there were significantly higher than in other parts of the city.

The TenderNoise project, a response to that reluctance, collected noise levels in the Tenderloin and proved they exceeded legal thresholds. It reminds us that broader efforts to deal with the inequities in noise pollution should be at the forefront of noise conversations—and not quieted.

Greta Byrum, senior field analyst, New America’s Open Technology Institute:
Visionaries from the Lomax family to Harry Smith have collected time capsule-like recordings of the ambient urban soundscape, surrounding you with the fractious chorus of fishmongers and fruitsellers on New York City's Lower East Side in the 1920s; the out-of-tune dissonance of too many bells ringing together on a Sunday in the 1960s; the barking of dogs. The city is like an orchestra—its crescendos and lulls are a testimony to the clashing and meshing of cultures and events that form the urban fabric itself.

Yet in order to work and live in urban soundscapes that are getting noisier—where life becomes an undifferentiated din and where you can't concentrate or rest—we all need to have places and times to retreat. This shouldn't just be a privilege of those who can afford to soundproof their homes. We should treat this not only as a case for regulation (which is necessary, in moderation) but as an opportunity for design innovations like New York's pocket parks or its High Line. But there’s another possible solution: While the introduction of new technologies (airplanes, cars, heavy machinery) to urban spaces has led to the aforementioned increase in noise pollution, technology can also be an answer to its relentless din. If we demand from our architects, planners, and industrial designers the same attention to sound as to other quality of life factors, we could see a revolution in design that prioritizes quiet and restores some peace and sanity to urban living.


Cara Hoffman

Afterward they didn't talk about these fires. About how they were learning to be patient with fear. How there was no such thing as undoing, and that putting out a flame didn't mean it hadn't burned.
- Cara Hoffman, Be Safe I Love You

I just got this book after Jon Frankel's glowing review of it on his blog, Last Bender. It's amazing.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gentle Reminder Pants

I grew up in a Jewish-Italian household where food and its journey through the alimentary canal was a perpetual theme. We all wanted to eat robustly yet remain svelte and attractive. Doesn't everybody? This is where my gentle reminder pants come in. There's no dieting, just noticing when your clothes seem to be getting a little snug. This is my favored method for judging my weight. But there is a catch. In the store it's not always easy for me to figure out my true pants size. The clothes manufacturers make me feel like Alice in Wonderland when it comes to finding reliable jeans, calling them 'relaxed fit', 'baggy fit', 'classic fit' and so on. I rely on two old and trusty pairs of slacks that are my proper size and fit to be my guide. They are unsparing in their reminders!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pamela Erens

I love editors who get rid of things.

In my experience, cutting back is the crucial act that allows the vitality, precision and emotional heart of a piece of writing to emerge.

Shaving phrases and even whole scenes from a piece of writing is light-hauling work, like tossing a few garbage bags into the back of the pickup truck and taking them to the dump.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Temple Grandin

I don’t want my thoughts to die with me, I want to have done something. I’m not interested in power, or piles of money. I want to leave something behind. I want to make a positive contribution - know that my life has meaning.
― Temple Grandin

In an ideal world the scientist should find a method to prevent the most severe forms of autism but allow the milder forms to survive. After all, the really social people did not invent the first stone spear. It was probably invented by an Aspie who chipped away at rocks while the other people socialized around the campfire. Without autism traits we might still be living in caves.
― Temple Grandin, Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism

I believe there is a reason such as autism, severe manic-depression, and schizophrenia remain in our gene pool even though there is much suffering as a result.
― Temple Grandin, Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism

Animals make us Human.
― Temple Grandin

I believe that the best way to create good living conditions for any animal, whether it's a captive animal living in a zoo, a farm animal or a pet, is to base animal welfare programs on the core emotion systems in the brain. My theory is that the environment animals live in should activate their positive emotions as much as possible, and not activate their negative emotions any more than necessary. If we get the animal's emotions rights, we will have fewer problem behaviors... All animals and people have the same core emotion systems in the brain.
― Temple Grandin, Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals

Booker T. Washington

No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.
― Booker T. Washington

There are two ways of exerting one's strength; one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.
― Booker T. Washington

I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.
― Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery: An Autobiography

We all should rise, above the clouds of ignorance, narrowness, and selfishness.
― Booker T. Washington, The Story of My Life and Work

The longer I live and the more experience I have of the world, the more I am convinced that, after all, the one thing that is most worth living for-and dying for, if need be-is the opportunity of making someone else more happy.
― Booker T. Washington

Friday, May 09, 2014


Writers write more about their process than painters do, but their wisdom applies and I am grateful for it.

Resist any temptation to use the poem to make its readers like you, or admire you, or forgive you.
- Ellen Bryant Voigt

I believe that good poetry can be as ornate as a cathedral or as bare as a pottingshed, as long as it confronts the self with honesty and fullness. Nobody is born with the capacity to perform this act of confrontation, in poetry or anywhere else; one's writing career is simply a continuing effort to increase one's skill at it.
- Mona Van Duyn


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Pat Barker

Fiction should be about moral dilemmas that are so bloody difficult that the author doesn't know the answer. What I hate in fiction is when the author knows better than the characters what they should do.
- Pat Barker

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Ray Bradbury

I was remembering this quote while working today.

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
— Ray Bradbury

Sunday, May 04, 2014


I was at a strip mall and I saw my favorite Japanese illustrator YK walk by with one of his cut outs but it was just the bust. He was kissing it. I followed him inside a bookstore to see if it was him. Yes it was him, the famous illustrator giving a talk about his new book. I was so excited and happy I cried and peed in my pants. Then he was suddenly no longer Japanese but a German and very round with bald head and built low to the ground. When I told him I have his books and admired his work for years, he tried to pick me up. "Do you want to collaborate?" he said. I fled, running in the dark. A small gray raggedy old man was mumbling and teetering in the street. I ran past him and realized it was my musician friend Michael aged and frail. I turned around and went back and spoke to him.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

The Pony Painted

Retired racehorse Metro Meteor is making paintings, with help. He even has a gallery.

How many paintings has he made?

A couple hundred. We work eight at a time. It takes four days to do one painting, working on it one hour a day. He can’t do more than one color on the same day, because he’ll smear it. So we developed this process of one day, one color. It builds up these layers of depth. His brush strokes are so strong.