Thursday, August 21, 2014

Guess Where I Am?

Actually, I got back last week, but I still want to play the game. Here are a few pictures to transport you to where I was…

 The trees are out of this world.

 Stuff grows everywhere, it can't help itself.

 If you leave your car sitting overnight, it grows fungus.

 Or turns into a pig!

 In this place, it is possible to look through the windows and watch people making cheese

 or Russian pastries.

 Follow the arrow…

 Look closely and use your knowledge of corporate America.

 Look closely and use your knowledge of recent American politics.

 (This picture doesn't nail anything down, but it makes me happy…)

 In this place, the seagulls are very organized.

 Recognize those mountains at all? No? Don't worry, I wouldn't either.

  What about that thing we're driving toward? Look closely…

Once you notice it, it kind of takes over the landscape.

La la la la la....


Beautiful Seattle...

This post is for TLR and N. ILU, too :o)

Monday, August 18, 2014


I swear that one of these days I'm going to write a substantive post with, like, words and stuff. Until then… If my fairy godmother shows up one day, she had better be aware that I expect no less than this dress. Have you seen this dress? It's made of recycled and discarded Golden Books. Look at this dress. After you do that, look at more pictures of this dress, designed by Ryan Jude Novelline. WOW.

Thanks, Jess :o)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Herve Tullet Introduces His New Picture Book, Mix It Up!

This 50-second video is charming.

I've had a chance to see an early copy of Mix It Up! (out in September), and I would go so far as to say it's my favorite Herve Tullet yet.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Resurrecting My Birthday Poll

It's birthday month on the blog! I'm sending birthday wishes all over the place and keeping some for myself. Happy birthday, Leos! Please vote in my important birthday poll, everyone!

As always, if you can't see the poll, go to my Blog Actual.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sweet Songs and Dancing

This SYTYCD Top 14 dance, choreographed by Travis Wall and performed by Jessica Richens and Casey Askew, is so lovely and sweet, but every time I watch it, I'm utterly puzzled by the last few seconds. I feel like something must've gone wrong there. Surely it's not supposed to look so much like he's suddenly trying to look up her dress? As always, sorry about the screaming. There was one season (5?) where the producers made the wonderful decision either to make the crowd shut up or to screen out the screams for the television viewing audience, and it was SO nice, but apparently someone has since decided that screeches add to our experience. Blech.

(BTW, if you want more Travis Wall, here's his routine choreographed for the top 7 guys.)

It can be a bit painful to watch a SYTYCD dance if you're familiar with the music, attached to it, and find it uncomfortable to hear it chopped up and reassembled. The song in this number, "Like Real People Do" by Hozier, has the sweetest, strangest lyrics:

I had a thought, dear
However scary
About that night
The bugs and the dirt
Why were you digging?
What did you bury
Before those hands pulled me
From the earth?
I will not ask you where you came from
I will not ask you and neither should you
Honey just put your sweet lips on my lips
We should just kiss like real people do

Here it is in its entirety, if you'd like to listen.

As always, if you can't see the videos, go to my Blog Actual.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

More on Being Small

A friend who read my blog post yesterday sent me this lovely video of Peter Mulvey performing "Vlad the Astrophysicist". Melancholy, sweet, centering, and exactly what I needed. Thank you, Rosa.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Locating the Moon

There are stretches of time in my writing life when I wake up eager to work and have one productive day after another. Then there are stretches like this week, when I wake up feeling like it's intolerable to be on page 12 of a difficult 400-page revision, and am I really supposed to be in charge of making all these decisions? Is it really up to me and only me to decide what's best at every moment? To figure out the solution to a lot of complicated problems? By myself, in this room today for hours?

It becomes difficult to keep my focus small. Instead of the group of pages that are my small task for today, with a small list of objectives, I start thinking about all the changes the book needs as a whole, and I get overwhelmed. I start thinking about how many days this big revision is likely to take, while my editor and other people are waiting, and I get overwhelmed. My friends might find me to be a little bit glum, because during these times, I tend to see the world through revision-colored glasses. Honestly, I feel like I'm five years old and scared and need hugs.

All of this is why this morning, I went online to find out the state of the moon. Here in the Boston area, the moon is a tiny waxing crescent today that sets at 9:13 PM. This explains why haven't seen the moon for ages: it's been up during the day, and very small. But I'm going to make a point of finding it today. One of the things that kicks me out of this rotten feeling about my revision – consequently making it easier for me to sit down and do the actual work – is to step back, far, far back, and get some perspective on how little this revision actually matters. For example, how much would this revision matter if someone were looking at it from the moon?

The funny thing is that two opposite answers exist at the same time. It would matter hardly at all; look: it's so, so small when seen from the moon. Often I like to back up even further, get myself out into the further reaches of the galaxy, so that the sun is just a dim dot. None of the things that feel overwhelming to me here in my office feel overwhelming to me if I'm looking at them from some other part of the galaxy. I find it intensely relieving to be reminded of how small we all are and how little it all matters. My life is a tiny little speck of a thing.

Yet it also clarifies how important every tiny thing is. The universe is a big mystery made up of tiny things. We are tiny, but our lives are intense dramas that matter. This revision doesn't matter, but it matters a whole lot to me.

I'm not sure why, but every time I'm able to get this kind of perspective, it becomes easier to sit down and work.