Wednesday, January 28, 2004

real good for free

anyone who has ever visited amsterdam will know the passage under the rijksmuseum.
this magic space, beautifully arched, edged in stained glass and wrought iron, protects cyclists and pedestrians briefly from the elements as they span the stretch between the museum square and the stadhouderskade. if they're lucky - these travellers - their brief journey will be accompanied by serenades: violins, flutes, perhaps even gypsy laments.

the powers that be - with a little help from the Great Paranoids of the world, who (i read not long ago in a morning newspaper) consider this location to be an invitation to a terrorist attack (what ISN'T?) - wish to close the lovely corridor.
this - however they reason - mustn't happen.
you can all protest.
there is no rule that stipulates dutch citizenship or proficiency in the language of the lowlands. you are all future visitors. you all appreciate beauty. you all know the difference between right and wrong.
it's reasonably straightforward: name. e-mail address. opinion.
if you have problems, let me know. i can create a cut-and-paste text.
every little bit helps.
thank you.

Monday, January 26, 2004

by the notion of her eye

any kid who has two parents who are interested in him and has a houseful of books isn't poor.
sam levenson (1911 - 1980) u.s. humorist, author

i don't tend to lose faith, at least not for long. i believe in happy endings.
in august, and in september, i was GRIPPED by misery. it faded. it didn't disappear, but it faded.
my daughter, though, is despairing ever-so-slightly. she's trying to sell off the less memorable of her chick-lit books - shortage of funds, y'see.
perhaps you crave a little literary fluff for these cold winter nights?
and take a look at her new photo site while you're at it. she's a natural.

Friday, January 23, 2004

mama told me not to come

"who wears white socks anymore anyway?" she wonders.
she tries not to look down, or ahead, for that matter. his moustache is desperately in need of a trim. his breath is tired.
in the damp chill of the café, they shuffle passively, nearly together, nearly apart, his indifferent hand on the small of her back.
"is this all there is?" she wonders again, smelling coffee and cabbage and longing for roses.
if only the accordion would move on to a livelier melody, if only the heartless lights would glow pink and flattering: she swings her hips, and her skirt, in frustrated anticipation.
her soul was made for passion.
and these high blue heels were made for clicking, for candor, and for complete and utter coquetry.
that's why she bought them in the first place.

Monday, January 19, 2004

bird on a wire

her feet cramp, her toes curl, her arches clutch the cable.
a stubborn span of positive pride maintains her equilibrium, straightening her shoulders, supporting her outstretched arms.
her eyes fix on infinity. she does not look back, or aside, or down.
she doesn't dare.
the safety net has been pulled aside, and there is nothing to tautly, utterly, break her fall.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

perchance to dream

i'm feeling a wee bit spaced, and a wee bit fragmented. i've been up since 5:15 a.m, and my whole being is staging a sit-in...a sleep-in?
two stories are half-written; a hundred thoughts are half-expressed.
maybe i should just turn in.
sweet dreams.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

sudden gifts of fate

appreciation: it's like sunshine breaking through a dismal dutch sky, like friends cupping your elbows and tilting you over the uncertain bits.

thank you, jason, for the very kind words.

Monday, January 12, 2004

this, sublime

life smiles on me: sometimes, often.
i spent this afternoon - gambling on goodness, and trusting my intuition - walking and talking with one of the finest people i've met in a long time.
and i shared a belated birthday dinner, and warmth, and conversation with two of my favourite friends ever.
i was in time for my train.
i was in time for my bus.
as days go, i'd give it FIVE stars.

Friday, January 9, 2004

as far away as yesterday

a more daring, more decided soul would take measures:
would place a few lines in the daily personals ("lost/or mislaid/purely sentimental value/dearly missed");
would paste his likeness onto wall and window and lamp-post, questioning, blackly bold on wrinkled paper ("have you seen this person?");
would have his name looped poignantly in plumes of smoke across the sky.
but her words, in print, on placard, or scrolled toward infinity, would only fall into the unfailing silence, and it is time to turn aside.

Thursday, January 8, 2004

a sheep in sheep's clothing

"hey YOU", he growled. he had the size and posture an american refrigerator, so i paused.
"what d'you think you're doing?"
"taking a picture."
"well", i said, "i saw that rusty container, and then that circle, with those primary colours, and the...."
"yeah right. you're not from the city council then?"
i glanced down at my tailored woollen coat and my pointy boots. when i visit hotels in some neighbourhoods, i tend to dress UP a bit, and as business-like as possible. i like to be clear about what i'm NOT doing strolling around that part of town. i forgave him his confusion.
"oh. okay then. a picture."
he stopped looking like he would relish tossing me headfirst into the rubbish bin, and started looking...mystified.
he may even have scratched his shaved and tattooed head in bewilderment.
i had already turned, and, tucking my camera into my pocket, moved on.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

shades of pale

ron, over at "du jour", remarked yesterday - between two glorious photos of a gray new hampshire coast - that "unsaturated, subtle color tones (are) sometimes overlooked for the splash that primary and secondary colors can provide".
he is right, and i know he is; i suspect that i see magic primarily when it has leapt upon me and smacked me brightly in the eye.
i strolled a LONG way back through my archives before i found an image that even vaguely qualified as "understated". and even then (tsk): there's still that scribbled mauve and orange on the doors....

Monday, January 5, 2004

singularly moved

the appearance of this solitary january flower in my garden shouldn't have surprised me: it is winter jasmine, after all.
and it isn't really MINE, either, having escaped from my neighbour's side of the fence to emerge among my ivy and my snowflakes.
but i love surprises, and, as you may have noticed, there is not much that pleases me more than a splash of unexpected colour as a reward for eyes kept open.

Saturday, January 3, 2004

with stars and still

he will not look her way.
perhaps he fears that the vestiges of their connection will weaken his will. perhaps his eyes have, simply, nothing more to say.
and so he stands behind his insubstantial wall, coy and inconstant, like a child who covers his face with inadequate fingers, believing himself invisible, and - foolishly - beyond reproach.

Friday, January 2, 2004

a vision now and then

i must admit:
i'm not a new year's eve kind of person.
i go all retrospective, and introspective, every december the 31st.
and i detest fireworks.
(this year i cringe, as always, at the noise of every explosion, but i also feel in my heart that the fortune spent filling the night sky with cacophony and colour could have made a small but significant difference, say, in the lives of those made homeless by the earthquake in iran.)
but that said...
it's 2004: a fresh slate, a new beginning, another magic round on the carrousel of life.
i wish you a year of peace and fulfillment, of happiness and good health. of brightness. of compassion. least a year. at LEAST.