Shine 4: Places, Memory


Lloyd Hall, Banff Center for the Arts


View From a Taxi: New York, March 2015


Mendocino Art Center, Winter 2015

Other Edges

In which self pays homage to other WordPress blogs whose interpretations of The Daily Post Photo Challenge (EDGE) are inspiring:

  • Ain’t Mine No More, for her photograph of penguins in Prague
  • The Armchair Sommelier, for that shot of a stormy sky over the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Still Thinking, for that shot looking down at the Urubamba River from the heights of Machu Picchu
  • Roaming About, for the shots of The Precipice Trail and Champlain Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park
  • The Storyteller’s Abode, for her dramatic pictures of people on the edge of a cliff in Tintagel, Cornwall, United Kingdom (King Uther Pendragon — name sound familiar? If not, you need to brush up on your King Arthur lore!)
  • Netdancer’s Musings, for the photograph of London’s Tower Bridge on a rainy night

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


As You Were

Classes were not cancelled. Self had to teach in the city; traffic was the usual.

Son went to school. He asked for a bathroom pass. He walked down a long, eerily silent corridor of classrooms. Through the open doors, he could hear the drifting sounds of CNN from the classroom TVs.

Her brother-in-law walked from his office in Wall Street, along with thousands. Somewhere midtown, he miraculously caught a cab which took him the rest of the way home.

There’s an article in The Conversation about a doctor attending a medical research meeting in the Brooklyn Marriott that morning. While people streamed out of Manhattan, he and a colleague walked towards Lower Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge; most of the people were heading the other way.

Last year, self was in New York City on 9/11. It was a very anti-climactic experience. Life went on as usual. Crowds drifted on and off the subways. The Grand Central food court was bustling with people. Not one of the crowds milling about mentioned 9/11.

That night, she took a train to Connecticut. It was late; the cars were full of young people. Laughing, talking. Nothing was different from the day before. Nothing marked the day as “different.” There were the usual intoxicated youths, no more, no less. There were no visible signs of increased security, not even in Grand Central.

Self would like the world to know: this nonchalance, it’s so “New York.” And maybe that was the point. We don’t let it change our daily lives, we don’t stop taking planes or trains. We don’t stop trusting people. We don’t stop trusting in the kindness of strangers. We just go on as usual.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



9/11: Self Wants to Remember


New York Times Book Review: 9/11 Issue

New York Lives:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Last year, in New York, self made it a point to visit Carnegie Hall, where Dearest Mum gave a piano concert when she was only 14. She had won a New York Times piano competition.

Because self wanted to be as close to Carnegie Hall as possible, she stayed in a hotel only a block away. She arrived with two suitcases filled with books and kept apologizing to the bell hop. She vividly remembers how, when she was in London, a bus driver who was attempting to help her with her bags said, after hefting one:  “I tell ya, it must be nice leaving home knowing you’ve brought all your books with you!”

The New York bellhop said: “Madame, this is nothing. A few days ago, I helped a Brazilian couple, and they had 17 suitcases.”

17 suitcases! Unbelievable!

But now that self is reading Brazillionaires, she believes it.

Because Brazillionaires is all about how Brazil’s richest people (what we in America might refer to as “the 1%) live.

And self now belatedly recalls that one time, when she was visiting a class in Skyline College, she just blurted out, completely unprompted: “I hate rich people.”

And unfortunately, she’ll be reading this book all week.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Mirror 2


Dining Table, Park Avenue, New York City, May 2016


Puddle, Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Spring 2016


The Iron Lady Herself, British National Portrait Gallery, April 2016: The bottom half of the painting is actually a mirror, reflecting the legs of the viewers. But they look like they’re the legs of the subjects in the Portrait!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwriting: August in New York


New York City Brownstone, Upper East Side

It was the end of August. New York was filled with the sound of small explosions: high heels on pavement, sudden flurries of pigeon feathers, screeching tires, contentious voices.

Beautiful Passage

This is from Essay # 3 of The Lonely City, a collection of essays which so far are all about New York, and the special loneliness of being lonely in a city of so many millions of people (Self actually appreciates that kind of loneliness; she loves the angst of it).

Self took the picture below last spring. She was looking across Park Avenue from a building on the east side:


Sunset, Manhattan: May 2016

On East 9th Street there was a café that looked out over a community garden planted with an enormous weeping willow. It was populated almost exclusively by people gazing into the glowing clamshells of their laptops and so it seemed a safe place, in which my solitary status was unlikely to be exposed.

— “My Heart Opens to Your Voice,” Essay # 3 in Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

Edward Hopper, Jo Hopper, and the Whitney Museum

This passage is too sad. Jo Hopper, Edward Hopper’s wife, was a painter. But she painted very little after she married (She was 41, Edward was almost 42).

. . .  it is almost impossible to form a judgement of Jo Hopper’s work, since so little of it has survived. Edward left everything to his wife, asking that she bequeath his art to the Whitney, the institution with which he’d had the closest ties. After his death, she donated both his and the majority of her own artistic estates to the museum, even though she’d felt from the moment of her marriage that she’d been a victim of a boycott by the curators there. Her disquiet was not unwarranted. After her death, the Whitney discarded all her paintings, perhaps because of their calibre and perhaps because of the systematic undervaluing of women’s art against which she’d railed so bitterly in her own life.

— “Walls of Glass,” Essay # 2 in Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone



THE LONELY CITY: Another Chapter

I didn’t stay in Brooklyn long. The friend whose apartment I was staying in came back from L.A. and I moved to the green walk-up in the East Village. The change in habitat marked another phase of loneliness; a period in which speech became an increasingly perilous endeavour.

— Olivia Laing, “My Heart Opens to Your Voice,” Essay # 3 of The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

This is really a lovely book.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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