Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Santa Fe is a door culture. Thresholds are very important here. Each house in Old Santa Fe has it's own distinctive door, sometimes old, beaten, often heavy and substantial. Occasionally, there's a door on the street that opens to a door on the house. They can be bare wood or brightly painted. They do make me wonder about what's on the other side, these doors.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Today we drove to Sante Fe, New Mexico. Along the way we stopped at Shamrock, Texas to visit the U Drop Inn Cafe, a classic Route 66 structure that was once a gas station and cafe of the best kind. We had high hopes we could still get a burger there, but when we arrived we found only some ladies inside sewing. (I know. Sewing?) Wish they still served hamburgers and fries there. Bet it was good.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
NERDISMS: The Pencil Case.
I love my pencil case. I've had for about ten years. It's is brown leather and just a little bit longer than a newly sharpened pencil. I'm always looking for new pencil cases. But so far, I haven't found anything I like better, which is nice because how often do you purchase something that still makes you happy ten years later?
It's hard to come by a good pencil case in America. If you go to an office supply store and look for pencil cases, mostly what you find are the flat variety that are supposed to fit into a notebook or three ring binder. These are made out of plastic or heavy duty nylon with mesh or some such underinspired thing. Kids' pencil cases (which are found in the school supply section) are a little bit better. They are sometimes in the shape of a favorite cartoon character like Sponge Bob Squarepants or something. But still, where are the secret sliding compartments for erasers and lunch money like they had for pencil cases in days of old? My students from other countries often come to class with very fine pencils cases. I notice, generally speaking, that my Japanese and Korean students have especially good ones. I understand you can get a good pencil case in Paris, and I know you can get a good one in London too.
Mine is rounded like a semi circular tube. The leather is thick, and it's the kind that gets better with age and use. There are no secret compartments, but it is quite roomy and I can fit a lot in it. Here's what I have in my pencil case: an excellent 3 inch folding ruler which unfolds to a full twelve inches, a small pair of scissors, a pen light flashlight (you never know when you might need one), a honey bee eraser, two triangular pentech pencils which are designed to NOT roll off your desk when in resting position, three vintage bakelite pencil sharpeners in red, yellow and orange (more on those in a future NERDISM post), a very compact red and yellow one hole punch, two red pens (one of which telescopes) and a small all-in-one tool which includes tweezers, scissors, a screwdriver, a bottle opener, and a variety of pen knives which means it would not be permitted as a carry-on when boarding an airplane.
I do not however carry any food in my pencil case, not even a roll of Necco wafer candy (which would, nonetheless, fit very nicely.)
Friday, June 08, 2007
This spring, Habitat for Humanity had a Birdhouse Benefit Auction. The local chapter gives birdhouses out to area artists so they can embellish them in any way they like. The birdhouses are displayed in a gallery and auctioned off. The money from the auction then goes to support the current Habitat House project. It was great fun to be a part of the show, and I was fascinated to see how other artists responded to the project. The final show included a wide variety of styles and colors, but all the birdhouses were happy moments of creative expression. I was glad to contribute my time and creative energy in support of such a good cause. Since I love shadowboxes and have done several in my mixed media art, I decided to make my birdhouse a shadowbox too. The title of the piece is "A Bird's Eye View." Though I don't know who ultimately bought it, I trust it went to a good home, and I hope whoever has it enjoys the little world created within. If you'd like to see more views of "A Bird's Eye View" you can visit my Image/Text Blog. You'll find the link to it on the sidebar.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Among my collection of favorite books is one entitled, Writer's Houses, by Francesca Premoli-Droulers. It's a large book that features pictures of the homes of several writers, some I've read and or heard of and some who are new to me. She features writers from Europe, South America and North America. In her introduction, Francesca says, "This book is about the varied dwellings in which some of the greatest writers of the last one hundred years, lived, created and suffered, where they acquired perhaps a taste for solitude and certainly an urge to write. These are the private domains they loved, the secret places where they found fullfilment."
It features the innner sanctums of Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), Vita Sackville-West, Dylan Thomas, Virginia Woolf. Twain, Yeats, Hemmingway, among others. What I love about this book is how intentional each of the rooms is, but also how imperfect. It looks like someone has had a life there...sometimes complex, messy, uneven, but also orderly, seasonal, rhythmic.
In contrast, the rooms in home magazines and on television shows look impressive, but ultimately, they are too perfect for me. I can't find myself in them. Within the walls of these writers' houses, I feel more at home. There are lumpy old chairs and bookshelves crammed with books. Potted plants, only half alive but tenaciously surviving, cluttered writing tables, windows with views as grand as the ocean or as simple as a cottage garden. Invariably, somewhere in the house, each writer had some special spot, be it a whole room or merely a secret corner, where he or she experienced enough peace and quiet to write.
I am rarely alone in my house. But I can find solitude enough to write in it. Or maybe it is more accurate to say I have composed enough solitude to write in it, because as Margaret Duras wrote, "One does not find solitude, one creates it."
Friday, May 12, 2006
I've done some homework and I found out my neighborhood owl is actually a barred owl. There's a family of them. I saw the fuzzy headed little baby tonight but couldn't get a picture of it. The parents keep it pretty high up in the tree. The mature owls are fond of taking morning baths in a puddle which forms in the middle of my street due to sprinkler systems. They are often surrounded by a variety of angry birds including sparrows, wrens, and blujays, who chatter and dive bomb them. They also like to lurk in a tree in our yard and wait for the neighbor's chihuahua to come out for his evening constitution. They have attacked it more than once. The other night we heard an odd yelping, then some vigorous hooting. We observed from the porch as my neighbor (who originally hails from Mississippi and retains the requisite accent) chased both owls back up the tree, yelling "You can't have mah dawg! He's too big for you anyway!" Who needs T.V. when you have this kind of drama?