Not that I plan on going anywhere…

…bearing in mind that I will most likely have plenty more years in which to get things done…

These recent months of pain, moderate but persistent and impossible to ignore, sufficiently distressing to prevent me from making much progress in any endeavor, have cast my life so far in a positive light. I have been almost* everything I ever wanted to be: a writer, a teacher, an artist, a friend.

Better still, I’ve been able to pursue these avocations without needing to achieve notable success. I am satisfied in the doing and in the interactions that my activities bring into my life.

I’ve also always wanted to be a cherished life partner, and I mean “always” almost literally: I had a boyfriend when I was 3. And I take satisfaction in thinking that, even when things didn’t work out, romantic relationships have given me the opportunity to express creativity through storytelling, humor, and the occasional dramatic confrontation. I feel confident that Raymond will attest to this.

There was that one high school boyfriend who wasn’t really interested in anything I had to say, but I still take a certain pride–and even after 42 years a touch of dudgeon–in having been a compassionate listener for him.

Raymond read over the preceding paragraphs and told me that, despite the title, this blog entry sounded like a valedictory. I see his point, but rest assured that I’m not saying goodbye to anyone, just doing a bit of self-soothing during this less-productive-than-usual period of my life. It’s beyond me right now to create finished art works, so I’m just poking away at my sketchbooks, filling in little bits of color with magic markers, gluing down pretty bits from clothing catalogs: anything to raise my own spirits.

*As a child I also wanted to be a professional singer, but my vocal range falls short of an octave, and that wish remains unfulfilled.

Fallen flowers, blank pages

I’ve got both my browser and my journal/sketchbook open as if staring at two blank pages is easier than one.


I’ve been obsessing over the 2014 song “Coffee” by the band Sylvan Esso, in which the chorus repeats the lines, “Get up, get down.” That’s because I’ve been suffering for months from a sore tailbone that makes me dread sitting and a also condition called meralgia paresthetica, which makes my left thigh burn when I stand. As I got up and got down over and over in his office, my pain physician told me it was hurting him just to watch me.

More Fully My Own

I am longing for the kind of blogging we did at the turn of the century (heh), intense but casual, both contemplative and spontaneous, free from algorithmic pressures. I’ll be a slave on facebook if it’s the price for playing with my friends, but this is something different, something more fully mine.

This week I learned a little about the 1975 New Topographics exhibit, featuring images by the likes of Robert Adams and Lewis Baltz, whose work challenged Ansel Adams’ approach to nature: gobsmacking images of monumental beauty, seeming undefiled by human presence. Ansel Adams’ mountains stretch like arms to embrace shimmering rivers and towering pines. Robert Adams (no relation to Ansel) gave us a mountain that turn its backs on an encampment of mobile homes, a mountain that hunches under the weight of its own disregarded magnificence, that looks like it’s about to shuffle off out of the frame.

The subtitle of the New Topographics exhibition was “photographs of a man-altered landscape.” That made me reflect on how much of my life I spend at the intersection of natural growth and human endeavor. When I happened to be standing in a bank parking lot located next to a lovingly preserved local stream, and I suddenly realized that this environment provided an almost infinite supply of visual stimulus for that reflection.