Archive for May, 2009

For Gretchen

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

When I was twelve, Gretchen started teaching me the classic repertoire–solos from Giselle, Coppelia, Les Sylphides, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty–that every dancer learns. Michel Fokine’s The Dying Swan, to Saint-Saen’s Le Cygne from The Carnival of the Animals, is one of the most famous of the repertoire, and the only solo Gretchen refused to let […]


It’s like the literature gods have my number and are determined to stuff my brain with wonder until it explodes. So many recent books written Just For Me. Today at the Coop (supposedly looking for a math workbook, and while I was at it the Perec that may or may not be out of print, […]


To set the darkness echoing.

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Young Adult fiction–which, naturally, I try to stay on top of, what?–has shifted toward some pretty edgy, dramatic stuff in the last couple of years. It’s a fascinating genre, and I think an important one since some of my most vivid memories are the things I read as an adolescent–when I read constantly, impressionably, and […]


Golden sunsets and shit like that.

Monday, May 18th, 2009

So  Dorothy Parker over there is saying that wild, cruel and reckless waves are the way to live. Over here, Paloma pauses for the simplicity of Satie on the piano wafting through an open window. Waves, well, I’m finding those okay, and I’ve never had trouble enjoying simple pleasures. But What Does It All Mean […]


Perhaps it was being in Portland, not thinking of work or inhaling coffee for the first time in months, the smell of Powell’s, the warm rain or some other mystic combination of good vibes, but I was primed to devour a good book and Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog fit the bill. I […]


…the last bit of silver cloud, doled out carefully over the last year. An old-growth Chinese white, mature buds plucked on the verge of opening, all covered with silvery down… Steeped in a clear gaiwan. 190ish degrees, three minutes. If my camera battery weren’t (perpetually) dead, I’d snap the buds, bobbing vertically in the cup, the […]


I like to think that if I had been alive in New York circa 1920-30 Dorothy Parker and I would have been a great friends. In reality, she’d have scared the crap out of me with her cleverness and very sharp tongue. In her poetry in particular, beneath some stellar wordplay, lurks irritation, rage,  frustration, […]


The Things I’d Carry

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

I’ve lived nearly half my life without my mother. In a lot of ways she’s a memory that’s faded over time, but as she’s faded, I’ve found significance in the small things I have left of her. I’ve certainly got stories–eating hot cereal every morning from the crockpot, plotting city park gardens and identifying all […]


(I’ve intended to write about The Elegance of the Hedgehog for days now, but as it is one of the best things I’ve read in a long while I’m nervous about doing it justice. Perhaps when I’m finished with my third read-through I’ll have some better-formulated thoughts…) …’Til then,  to take a break from small […]


…the courses most alive.

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

In thinking about where to even begin to begin the first steps of a new journey, I’m taking some comfort in knowing that what is new and strange to me has been glaringly obvious for years to those who know me best. Case in point: the letter excerpted below, written to me upon my graduation […]