October 29, 2014 § 1 Comment
October 28, 2014 § 2 Comments
Random photographs from an afternoon walk:
October 27, 2014 § 2 Comments
Some recently read works and pieces you may enjoy:
- “The Crying Man” by Nick Arvin (Ploughshares, Fall 2014) — In this short story, a man cries uncontrollably everywhere — at work, while traveling, at home — over the impending end of his marriage.
- Gabriel: A Poem by Edward Hirsch (2014) — A book-length poem on Hirsch’s son’s untimely death of a drug overdose in New York City during Hurricane Irene. Heartfelt, painful, and painted in grief.
- “How to Write a Sentence” by James Thomas (The New Yorker, October 24, 2014) — A satiric spin on how to right good so you’re sentences are well constructing.
- “Social Media Isn’t Free” by Allison Williams (“Nonfiction” blog, Brevity Magazine, October 27, 2014) — As someone who is just beginning to orbit the Twittersphere, I’m trying to determine how best to use my time to promote the writers, artists, organizations, ideas, and projects I love, even when my work isn’t noticed by the same people and places I Twitter about. Williams’s essay is a fantastic read for those writers who do their best to support the literary magazines and publishers they love but also could use a little love back, even if it’s just to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
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Today I discovered that there is a book called Sometimes You Barf. I thought all the poop, snot, and gas tomes on the children’s picture-book market had covered this topic, but it appears it’s been overlooked until now.
I foresee a series and recommend someone write any or all:
- Sometimes You Inhale a Snoutful of Chlorine at the Water Park
- Sometimes You Can’t Trust Your Friend Carl
- Sometimes You Pass Out
- Sometimes You Smell Like Garlic and Old Sweat Socks
- Sometimes You Sizzle the Tips of Your Fingers to a Crisp with Firecrackers
- Sometimes You Go to a Foreign Country and You Inadvertently Eat a Tapeworm
- Sometimes You Slice off a Friend’s Ear When Using Saws for Swordplay
- Sometimes You are on a Plane and Think the Aircraft is Crashing When Really It’s Only Turbulence, So Just Calm Down Already
- Sometimes You Think It’s Okay to Pet a Cat
- Sometimes Your Appendix Bursts
October 26, 2014 § 3 Comments
Playing around with focus, ISO, shutter speed, and aperture in the worst possible way, but it works for me.
October 25, 2014 § 2 Comments
A few weeks ago, the House of Coates (a story in words and photos about drifter Lester B. Morrison) was reissued. Its launch was kicked off with its author, Brad Zellar, spinning vinyl while its photographer, Alec Soth, pulled transparencies on and off the overhead projector, using dying Sharpies to write blurred words and phrases on his photos. The evening was funny and disconnected, bordered on confused mayhem, and was quite enjoyable. And the venue, a vintage furniture store, added to the eccentricity.
I debated going to a second House of Coates book launch, this time at the Walker Art Center, thinking it would be more DJing and AVing (not that there’s anything wrong with that). However, I had just finished the book, adored it, and wanted to see what strange frivolity would ensue.
So I went. And in typical fashion when topics about sad lives are broached, I cried.
Zellar began by talking about his move several years ago to a small cabin in Vermont for eight months to get away from computers/email/social media and those whom he felt were disappearing behind it. He also explained his lifelong interest in outsiders and described people he’d known who walked on that periphery of loneliness, who were never really understood or valued or loved or given a place or purpose.
The tears made their appearance when Zellar read an introduction he’d written, which had been cut from the book, about different types of invisible people and why they are regularly discarded or forgotten. Not only were Zellar’s words beautiful and profound, but they triggered the deep sadness and worry I’ve forever held for misfits, along with a similar curiosity to understand their stories and lives.
When Q&A time rolled around, I was eager to ask several questions, but I didn’t for fear of starting to cry again. Instead I listened as Zellar shared details about a new project that involves finding obituaries of people with no known survivors and researching their lives. I’ve often had a desire to do similar work, more along the lines of going to funerals of people who die alone or whose families can’t afford to pay for lengthy obituaries, and trying to untangle the questions of their lives or to memorialize them properly.
I admittedly bought this book because I love Alec Soth’s photography, but Zellar’s story (both in the book and in his life) moved me in ways I never imagined when I paid my $20 three weeks back. It also got me thinking about my abandoned projects on the brokenhearted and forgotten and has renewed my interest in giving them another go.
The book is available through Coffee House Press and independent bookstores (and I’m sure it is at Amazon, too, but check with your local bookseller first), and an interview with Zellar and Soth on Minnesota Public Radio is a fantastic companion to the book. They’ve also been getting a lot of attention nationally, specifically from the New York Times, and I suggest you get a taste of some of their other work there.
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While at the Walker, I did stop by one of my favorite places in the city — Sky Pesher, the James Turrell piece. I hit it twice (before and after the talk) for some quiet reflection and also strolled around the sculpture garden and pedestrian bridge before heading home.