18 June 2011


in my hiatus from blogging I was not, in fact, hiatusing from inspiration. there was a ton of inspiration to be had. more than I can even list. but here are just a few things that have done the job over the past few months.

1. weekend vacations - often times, being what some might call an "adult" is overwhelmingly hard. sometimes you just feel inadequate and ill equipped to rise to the challenge. but the good thing about being what some might call an "adult" is that in these moments you also have the ability to step away. to get out of town just for a weekend. to give yourself a break. to remind yourself that your heart is beating and pulsing and regenerating. to think and imagine and create. and it is really great when being what some might call an "adult" means you can rent a hotel room all by yourself. and wander around annapolis. and write. and take pictures of people resting and breathing just as you are resting and breathing.

2. let the great world spin by collum mccann - how wonderful to find a little book that makes you happy you are alive and know how to read. the images he paints with his words are just incredible. and for a little while his characters became my best friends. only the greatest of books can do that.

3. fear - it seems antithetical. but sometimes the best inspiration for action is fear. fear of things changing. of things staying the same. fear of loss. of gain. fear of God.

4. helplessness blues by fleet foxes - I can't stop listening to them. it is a problem. their harmonies are perfect like simon and garfunkle. their lyrics are indelible and raw and honest. and all those instruments being traded around the stage and played impeccably by any one of the six members? I just can't get enough. I am pretty sure I need to move back to the pnw as soon as possible so I can increase my chances of meeting robin pecknold.

5. the bay bridge - so long and high and suspended in that beautiful, impossible way. it goes on forever in a way that makes you think that if you just keep driving straight you will drive right out into that hazy sky above the chesapeake bay. not to mention that I have now been on a bay bridge on both coasts of this country. something about that feels a bit "full circle" to me.

6. the year of magical thinking by joan didion - never before have I experienced grief and mourning so clearly articulated in a matter-of-fact and yet achingly beautiful way. the ordinary instant...

7. an empty house - I was so sad when betsy left for the bright lights of nashville. but the idea of an empty house seems somehow refreshing and revitalizing. like a blank sheet of paper. a box waiting to be filled. a body ready for new challenges. a mind ready for new ideas. a heart ready for new experiences. I think I like that.

8. tapping keys - what a lovely sort of music, the sound my fingers make on the keyboard as I type out my imagination onto a white screen. what a lovely sort of music, the ping of the letters moving up and down. the thoughts flowing from brain to fingers to keys to screen. what a lovely sort of music.

9. thunderstorms - lately its just been so hot. and humid and suffocating. but every once in a while those clouds roll in. and the sky opens up and lets all that humidity turn into what it is meant to be. every once in a while the clouds break open and the rain falls in heavy sheets. steaming off the hot asphalt. every once in a while everything gets washed away in a flash of thunder and lightening so bright night seems like day. and I am reminded that there is always a respite. if only for a moment before the heat begins again.

10. smiling - sometimes I wonder what would happen if I smiled at everyone I made eye contact with. on the train. walking down the street. at the bagel shops and coffee shops and grocery stores I frequent. I worry that they would think I am silly and dumb. or would they appreciate someone noticing? would they smile back?

11. listener - this should be somewhat obvious based on this. he inspires me with his passion and honesty and slight melodrama because let's face it - we all wish we could be a bit melodramatic every once in a while. he inspires me with his words in songs like this. and this. and of course, this.

06 June 2011

listener - wooden heart

I have loved this song for so long and for so many reasons. and if I could imagine the perfect images to go with it, these would be them.

a small warning: maybe don't watch this on a saturday afternoon in the middle of a crowded coffee shop. its beauty and honesty will make you cry. and then you may feel awkward when you look up and people are giving you odd looks of concern and confusion.

but please watch it. as big as you can make it (all you have to do is click on the little arrows in the bottom right). and more than once. and then tell me what you think.

back in march in the midst of regrouping, this song was getting me through so many things. in its own way, bringing order to the chaos I was feeling in and around me. and now, just in time to be the first post in this little experiment in the ordinary instant, here is the official video. I can't really believe how great it is.

thanks to my wonderful friend with the wonderful blog, I found it this weekend. it was actually directed by her super cool brother, whom I don't know, but often wish I did because of how he captures light and details in videos like this one (and also in this one).

I love his voice. the cadence of his tone and how it mixes with the words. I love the melody. the slightly distorted simplicity of it. I even love him. the way he is honest and raw and slightly dramatic in a way I wish I could be sometimes. but mostly it's those lyrics. lyrics like this: I know that we are all made out of shipwrecks, every single board. but also like this: but we pick ourselves up, and try and grow better through the change. and definitely like this: everything falls apart at the exact same time that is all comes together perfectly for the next step. how they show me life is broken. but also full of hope. and beauty. and a small glimpse of what is to come.

02 June 2011

things are changing a bit!

lately I've been thinking a lot about focus. my life seems so disjointed so much of the time. I run from place to place. friend to friend. moment to moment. but according to dr. clifton, I just can't function without some level of connectivity. I need continuity. I thrive knowing that "we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it." I see everything in relation to something else. I find meaning through connection.

I've also been thinking about focus in terms of this blog. I feel as though I need a more distinct purpose for it. a reason to write even if it's just for me to read. I am not particularly good at do-it-yourself crafts or around-the-house projects. I barely have time to eat, let alone cook and write about it. I am not yet brave enough to share the copious amounts of stories and poems I have written.

but I notice the little things. the little details that we miss if we don't look carefully. the insignificant moments that are not so insignificant.

the way a book or short-story or poem can bring us back to memory or even to new life. the beauty of words strung together like twinkly lights strung around a room ready for christmas. simple words that paint an image so complex and real in our mind. the single sentence in a book. the single repeated word.

the way a silly little piece of music can convey so much life - for better or worse. the melody that reminds us what it is like to grieve, to hope, to love, to grow. the sound of a song that brings us back to specific memories in such a real way we could swear it just happened yesterday. the live show that is a moving work of art - less permanent than a painting, but never to be removed from our experience with it. the way a song makes you feel everything around you more distinctly and deeply.

the unnoticed gesture of kindness. the unseen movement of character. the forgotten tree. the lonely fountain. the afterthought. these are the details I love. the details I thrive off of.

joan didion talks about "the ordinary instant" and how it is not so ordinary. for her, the ordinary instant changed everything. for her, the ordinary instant ended a life. for all of us, the ordinary instants are all the details. the ones we overlook in our busyness to reach our goals. to progress.

so in an effort to focus, here is what I will focus on in this little corner I have claimed for my own. the details. the little things that inspire me. the ordinary instants. as anne michaels says, the "gaping life" that is poised in the casual moments. I will observe. I will notice. and I will share it with you. and I would love it if you wanted to share a bit with me too.