Sentence of the Day: From Thad Carhart’s THE PIANO SHOP ON THE LEFT BANK

Self has an inordinate interest in pianos because her mother was a concert pianist: admitted to Curtis at 11, friends with Gary Graffman (who had self and her mother over to dinner at his apartment one night), winner of the New York Times International Piano Competition when she was 14. Dearest Mum played in Carnegie Hall.

Dearest Mum had not one, but two Steinways, one flown into our home in Manila through Clark Airbase.

As far as self knows, Dearest Mum is the only pianist in the world who has two Steinways.

Here’s a sentence from the book self is currently reading, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, by Thad Carhart:

No one knows exactly when the piano was invented.

Why is that interesting to self? Who knows. It just is.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

TIME: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 6

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge — TIME — is an interesting one: Sylvain Landry had the exact same challenge on his blog this week. For Sylvain, self chose a picture of the notebook she carries around with her everywhere. It’s a habit of hers to jot down random observations, snippets of conversation, names of streets. More often than not, these random details, these overheard conversations, work their way into her stories.

For the Daily Post Photo Challenge, self decided to think a little differently. She decided she’d show the bare, leafless trees of New York’s Central Park, in late November/ early December. What better to show the passing of the seasons (and of time) than bare trees?

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Central Park, Early December 2015

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Really liked seeing these compost bins scattered around the park!

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

First Responders, 9/11

Self was in New York just this past fall.

For some reason, she remembered an article she read in Salon, only days after 9/11. It was a first-person piece written by a student at Juilliard who, as soon as he got the news, grabbed his violin and headed downtown.

The Armory was where the injured were taken, and that’s where the music student decided to play. He played, Salon said, “the concert of his life.”

He played until his fingers bled. The weary and bedraggled survivors, the firemen, everyone listening at the Armory were in tears.

When he could no longer play, another student came and took his place.

So, in New York, this past fall, after a very determined internet search, self found the identity of the young man: William Harvey.

Did you know that self wrote her very own 9/11 story? It was very short. LitnImage published it. It was called “Wavering.”

LitnImage no longer exists. The link she posted a while back came back “broken.”

In her story, a businessman was late getting to work because his wife found out he was having an office affair and they fought.

In self’s story, the businessman arrives too late. His lover is up there in one of the towers, and he can’t get to her. And something in him dies, too. Even though he stays married. And all the wife reaps is bitterness.

Recently, Congress passed a law according medical care to the first responders of 9/11. She thinks she heard a figure like, roughly 4,000 first responders developed cancer. (If you add that figure to the number who were killed in the collapse of the towers, the number of 9/11 victims actually doubles and becomes close to 10,000)

On TV a few days ago, on a show about a medium, a wife tells the story of how her husband, a fireman, went straight to the World Trade Center and stayed there for days. When the TV show began, self was expecting to hear that the woman’s husband died during the collapse. But no. It turns out he lived for several years after, but he got cancer.

And self wondered: why did it take 14 years for Congress to pass a bill according these men medical care?

Self wrote another 9/11 piece called “The Walker.” Would you believe, the Yale Review wrote her about it? It was rejected, but just barely. She still has the story in her files. She hasn’t sent it out since.

Roughly, it’s about an insomniac who roams his neighborhood at 3 a.m., whose Filipino neighbor has a counter on his front lawn, counting the days after 9/11: Day 1, Day 2, and so forth.

So the man roams his neighborhood and is struck by the fact that the counter has been put away. It was the day after Osama bin Laden was killed.

When 9/11 happened, self was a visiting instructor at Santa Clara. When she asked the students to write about 9/11, they said “It’s such a clich√©.” And six of those students went to the Department Chair and complained about her.

Seriously?

Why wouldn’t you write about 9/11? Especially since it just happened. Self was barely hanging on, it felt like such a travesty to tell the students to do craft-y exercises like construct/de-construct or do meta-fiction.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sylvain Landry Week 31 Photo Challenge: TIME

Boy does self love Sylvain Landry’s Photo Challenge.

She picks just one photo (as opposed to the three she loads for The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge)

This week’s theme is TIME.

And here’s a picture from a coffee shop on New York City’s Upper West Side, Oct. 2015. She had her notebook open. She carries a notebook with her everywhere so she can jot down random musings as she goes through her day.

No matter how busy she is, she always manages to take down notes on what she observes around her:

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New York City, Upper West Side Coffee Shop, October 2015

Self would describe this process as “layering” — enriching present experience by forcing her to observe details of what’s around her, no matter how mundane. It’s a way of forcing herself to slow down, to savor the moment.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vibrant 2: New York City’s High Line

Whoever was responsible for bringing the High Line into existence, self thanks you. The most beautiful things about New York City last December were:

  • the weather (shirt-sleeve weather)
  • Carnegie Hall
  • Central Park
  • High Line

She has posted many pictures of the High Line in the last two months. Here are the most vibrant ones:

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The tables above are the outdoor seating for Terroir.

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On the High Line: A Message

And the same message, only in context:

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Chelsea (Former Meatpacking District), viewed from the High Line

P.S. Interesting, isn’t it, the predominance of vibrant yellow? Self almost thinks that was deliberate!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Vibrant: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 5

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is VIBRANT.

And oh, how self loves any Photo Challenge that has to do with color.

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How green is the grass after much rain!

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This vibrant sunflower blooms year-round in front of the Mendocino Art Center Gallery.

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Art on New York City’s High Line: Self walked it on a gloomy December day; few people about. Colors really popped.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Alphabet 3: 2016 WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge # 3

London is one of self’s faaaavorite cities in the entire world!

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London cab: Summer 2015

And Kepler’s Books is one of her favorite bookstores in the entire world!

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Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park: Still Around, After 30+ Years! Self has given a couple of readings in Kepler’s over the years.

And this man was very resourceful, she thinks dear blog readers will agree! She spotted him at the 53rd & Lexington Subway Station, New York City:

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53rd & Lexington, Just outside the subway station, New York City, March 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Alphabet 2: 2016 WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge # 3

This week, let the alphabet be your inspiration: find a string of letters.

The Daily Post

Self was inspired by this WordPress blog today:  Love in the Spaces

Below, more from self’s archive of recent pictures.

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Presentation on Manilatown, yesterday at the Listening to the Silence conference at Stanford University

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Graffiti, New York’s Chelsea district

Finally, blurred photo (Self was on Sixth Avenue). Last December was her first winter in New York City in forever.

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Wintry in Manhattan: The partially obscured sign says RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Music: Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge Week 28

The Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge this week is MUSIC.

Here’s a picture of the main stage of New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Took my first tour ever, December 2015. We were only allowed to take pictures when the musicians weren’t rehearsing.

Dearest Mum played a concert here after she won The New York Times International Piano Competition, when she was 14:

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The Main Stage of Carnegie Hall, in between rehearsals: December 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Weight(less): 2nd WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge of 2016

Self is very intrigued by this week’s WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge: WEIGHTLESS.

“Show us the effects of gravity in your photo this week.”

Funny, she actually thought the theme meant the opposite: to show us the things that exist in defiance of gravity.

Anyhoo, here’s a building in New York’s Soho district. Self has been fascinated by buildings for a long, long time. The small black cube within the larger edifice — all self can think of when she looks at this picture is: JENGA!

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Weightless 1: New York skyscraper, Soho

And here’s a longer view of the same subject, showing how it fits in with the surrounding cityscape:

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A longer view of Weightless 1

The third picture is a detail of the facade of the Cathedral in the beautiful Italian town of Siena, where the Palio horse races are held every year. Siena is divided into 17 districts, each represented by a different animal. Animal effigies like this lion (in mid-roar: fabulous!) are carved into the facade of the Cathedral. Since this lion is made of stone, the fact that it’s jutting out of the Cathedral wall like that is, in self’s humble opinion, awesome:

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Weightless 2: The Cathedral of Siena. The facade features carvings of animals representing each of the districts that make up the city. The districts compete against each other every summer, in the Palio horse races.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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