17 November 2017

a word



to the woman who sat behind me and sobbed during the noon showing of Lady Bird, I feel you.

16 November 2017

tabs



six tabs currently open on my computer:

1. cooking with zora neale hurston

2. muriel's wedding is a feminist masterpiece and more relevant than ever

3. stephen shore on why young photographers really need to start with film

4. the black excellence of khalil joseph

5. susan sontag on being a writer

6. whitewashing nola

look, I really would like to read all these articles but am having trouble finding the time, what with all the buzzfeed quizzes and the netflix shows.

to all seven of you who are reading, please vote: which one should I read first.

p.s. I am done with question marks.

p.p.s. I have only three free articles left over at the new yorker. please choose responsibly.

15 November 2017

and now tomorrow is today

and what I can tell you about my time last year in new orleans with friends is that, in the simplest of terms, it made me glad to be alive.

and not just because we took the train down and talked and talked (and talked) and stared out the window at all the tiny southern towns along the way. or because the place we stayed at felt like a hundred year-old three-storied dollhouse complete with a cherry red spiral staircase, a bed tucked up in the attic and a wall full of old mirrors.

and not just because when we ate beignets at cafe du monde, we realized that everything (and everyone) seemed to be covered in a fine dust of powdered sugar, including the boots our server was wearingor because when we wandered into a downtown casino and I gambled for the very first time in life, I won exactly one cent. and have the payout receipt to prove it. or because we rode bikes down magazine street all the way to audubon park and felt like we were nine years-old all over again.

and not just because music was everywhere and everything tasted like love and for exactly 72 hours, we meandered up and down streets and through old cemeteries with no particular route or schedule in mind.

not just because of all these things, but because (and this is not news)-- real time with real friends is like nothing else in this world and the older I get the more I realize how profoundly important it is. cheaper than therapy and with more laughing and if you do it in new orleans, there will probably be breakfast sandwiches made with doughnuts. 

14 November 2017

13 November 2017

sometimes you need to hear it



(scrawled on the beams of the brooklyn bridge, found while walking across it on the 29th of july, 2016)

12 November 2017

things considered, over the course of the last seven days

how much banana bread is too much banana bread

can I pull off stripes

do I even care if I can't, since I will wear them anyway

can I convince everyone I know to go see the florida project

will everyone fall in love with it like I did

will I care if they don't

can I convince everyone I know to shun facebook

will I care if they don't

should I start a professional facebook deactivators club

should we have satin jackets with our names on the back

will I care if I'm the only member

is this president real

are we still living this nightmare

will anyone notice if I just hide in the bathroom and read all day

can I just wear leotards in place of clean underwear

would it just be faster to order new underwear from amazon than to go to the laundromat

could I live with myself if I actually did that

will I ever not be going to the laundromat

can I lowkey audit ava's AP lit class

can the marigold be my new signature flower

how much soup is too much soup

11 November 2017

girls on film









new orleans with friends, october 2016. new orleans with friends, I highly recommend it. 

(along with a polaroid land 250 and some fuji FP-3000b, if you can swing it)

(more nola to come, more more more)

10 November 2017

long live instant film



wildly inspiring me:

1. p.v.'s polaroids of people

2. matthew james o'brien's instant columbia

3. anje niemi's short stories

4. kyler zeleny's found polaroids

5. willem baptist's instant dreams

09 November 2017

this feels particularly relevant right now

if you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don't hesitate. give into it. there are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. we are not wise, and not very often kind. and much can never be redeemed. still, life has some possibility left. perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happens better than all the riches or power in the world. it could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. anyway, that's often the case. anyway, whatever it is don't be afraid of its plenty. joy is not made to be a crumb.

-mary oliver

08 November 2017

number nine



number nine: fly down seventy slides. 

I put that one on the list because lord help me if I ever just completely give up slides. not necessarily because I have a thing for them but because of what it might mean about who I've become. if I can't haul myself up a ladder to fly down a shiny silver slide every once in a while, well then maybe I'm a little bit dead inside. also-- cheap thrills, I'm not above them. 

I can tell you right now I have not flown down seventy slides, not even close. but I have been down a few. 

let's see.

there was the big concrete slide in san francisco, just up the street from bob and jen's house. went down that one so fast I popped both sandal straps. put my feet down in a desperate attempt to reduce the break-neck speed at which I was traveling. cried about the sandals (which were favorites) but have zero, and I mean zero, regrets.  

there was the slide at the park in our old neighborhood in portland. a bright red and yellow spiral number circa nineteen seventy something, by far my favorite slide in the city though admittedly, not very fast. I lumbered down that thing like a two-ton drunken sloth. still, prettiest. favorite.

there were the two slides at my favorite park here in atlanta-- the noguchi playscape at piedmont park. flew down those guys on my 45th birthday. I say 'noguchi playscape' not because I'm fancy but because that's what it's called. designed by japanese-american sculptor isamu noguchi back in 1976, it's modern art you can climb on. a dream playground, really, and important but not at all dignified, which I discovered the second my shirt flew up over my head on the way down that first slide. joy, I tell you, unmitigated. mr. noguchi, I thank you.

there have been an assortment of slides along the way, a garden variety, if you will, of average playground slides. sturdy plastic numbers in the colors du jour-- deep purples and teals, sensible browns. great conductors of static electricity but nothing really worth mentioning here.

all totaled, I'd say I've been down about 12 slides but let's call it an even 15. that means 55 more slides in the remaining (as of today) 763 days. it seems I have some sliding to do. 

here's to not being dead inside. and to things that make you say wheeee.

07 November 2017

hashtag halloween



























we are barely hanging onto things around here. and by things, I mean childhood holiday traditions and by we, I mean me. for her last official year as trick-or-treater, ava went old school slash classic halloween witch (though I believe in my heart of hearts she was really just channeling lydia).  alternately, ezra ditched trick-or-treating altogether. I pretended not to care. for the record, I am no good at pretending not to care.

I could not even get him to carve the small pumpkin he'd picked out at the farm weeks ago. though he did at least manage to scrape his pocket knife across the bottom of it and call it a mouth. since the thing already had two rotten spots on it that looked like eyes, it was promptly pronounced a carved jack 'o' lantern. okay. he will never admit it but he loved that rotten little pumpkin thing. the more it rotted, the more he loved it. and so did I. 

halloween 2017, I'll take it. melancholy and all. last year's halloween was an absolute disaster. this year, we lowered our expectations, kept to ourselves. and, it worked. this year, we celebrated what felt like the last of the last. who knows what next year holds? wait, don't answer that. 

(halloweens past: 2016//2015//2014//2013//2011//2010//2009//2005)

06 November 2017

05 November 2017

sunday seven



and if your insides are itching and screaming and thundering and you want to contribute, here are seven different organizations doing good work, hard work, absolutely infinitely essential work:

1. equal justice initiative: committed to ending mass incarceration, challenging racial and economic injustice, protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable in america (folks, bryan stephenson is doing some wildly extraordinary work) (read more and give here)

2. the king center: dedicated to the inimitable dr. martin luther king jr. and his philosophy and strategy of non-violence to eliminate poverty, racism and violence, educating and inspiring new generations (crown jewel of our city, down on beloved auburn ave) (read more and give here)

3. southern poverty law center: devoted to fighting hate, teaching tolerance and seeking justice (never has their work been more important than now, under this current presidential administration) (read more and give here)

4. black lives matter: working vigorously for freedom and justice for black people and, by extension, all people (real life boots on the ground) (read more and give here)

5. philando feeds the children: collecting donations to help pay off elementary school kids' lunch debt in honor of philando castile, who was lovingly known as 'mr. phil' at the minnesota elementary school where he worked as the supervisor of the food program (read more and give here)

6. bronx documentary centersharing photography, film and new media with underserved bronx communities and the cultural community at large (particularly taken with the work of the bronx junior photo league and adult league) (read more and give here)

7. moving in the spirit: using dance to teach young people social, emotional and cognitive skills needed to thrive, producing resilient, compassionate leaders, wholly committed to making dances that explore issues of social justice (friends, I can personally vouch for this extraordinary organization as I've been teaching for them on and off for the last 25 years and have seen up close the good, have experienced it myself firsthand) (read more here but by far, the most powerful testament to the organization is right here) (and please give here)

we can give our money and our efforts to the good fight, we can

(p.s. above photograph taken in the wings of a 2015 moving in the spirit performance)

04 November 2017

archaeology



portland, oregon, november 2008. 

we manage hundreds of photographs now, at any given moment, we deal in volume. which means that sometimes photographs get lost. and stay lost until we go digging.

03 November 2017

most nights

onions and garlic in butter on the stove in the heavy red pot, wooden spoon in hand. ava on the living room floor hunched over a mess of art supplies. ezra on the xbox with portland friends, long limbs slung over a mostly broken old bamboo chair. ward puttering around the house, with a coffee cup, headphones. cats lounging in the best chairs, the chairs that are not broken, the chairs we'd like to sit in. 

file under 'what most nights look like around here', under 'things I want to remember'. 

02 November 2017

//polaroid week///



















have yet to find other cameras that make photographs like polaroid cameras do. photographs that feel like what I remember, look like how things feel.

(above selections from fall polaroid week 2017)