Color

I’ve been drawn to it lately and I find myself out in the world looking for it. Not that I didn’t like color before. This is different. A shift that’s so welcome. After the election I found myself only being able to take black and white pictures that were filled with weight.

It seems a stage of grief has passed. And though there is still so much darkness and pain that I’m reminded of when I turn on the news, I’m in a different place. Noticing. And feeling. And wanting to see all of the iterations of color. To see colors in different shapes and combinations. And I am not (yet?) a painter so I find myself walking the streets of the city, looking.

I’ve also come across a few artists that are giving me so much inspiration right now:

  • Sofie Grevelius . Her instagram has quickly become one of my favorite for her playful, ambiguous perspective on the built environment that she later translates into pieces of art in her studio.
  • I recently came across Richard Tuttle’s work. !
  • And Kristin Texiera’s memory maps. It looks like she is currently working on a series of maps based on Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, which is a favorite book of mine and I can’t wait to see what she makes.

Since this shift I’ve felt things brewing in my head. Vague, peripheral thoughts on language, art and space. I’m learning, slowly, to sit with half-formed thoughts and ideas. Sometimes, it’s even just a word that bubbles up and I’m not sure what to do with. So I write it down. Give it space.

And return to the city with my camera.

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Body Language, Bodies of Language

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It was our last day in California. We stopped along the beach to watch skateboarders. What struck me besides the shadows crisp against the metal was the lack of chaos  – that there were only a few skateboarders on the course at a time, that turns were being taken. It occurred to me there was some sort of unspoken rule system being followed. A body language and a body of language I didn’t previously notice and I didn’t understand. This is how we move through the world, I thought. Into and out of bodies of language. How much have I missed? There must be a world out there that contains all of the meanings that get lost.

To Start Again

This writing thing. Woof.

It is the thing I dreamed of doing as a child. It’s the thing I did. I’d sit out on the porch when it rained and fill up my notebooks with invented places.

Then I stopped. I went to college and read economics textbooks. The muscles on the left side of my brain grew stronger at the expense of the right side.

How does one realize they’ve gone down the wrong path? I’m sure it’s different for everyone and there are those very fortunate souls who didn’t. Who found it. And stuck with it.

For me, it was a physical reaction. I felt myself folding. And you can go on folding yourself for a while. And then you can’t. Because you hear a poem.

At least that’s what happened to me. I heard a poem and started unfolding myself. And then I stopped again. The right side of my brain atrophied. Smaller, it all felt.

All of this to say I’m here. Working on unfolding. Slowly. Slowly.

Up High

I’m up high. I’m cooking rhubarb compote as I look out on the bluffs of the Mississippi river. I wonder who in those apartments across the street can see me. And are they wondering the same thing? I can’t see anyone. Just hints of a life inside – a curtain, a sofa, a plant.

I can hear the birds outside, their echoes reverberate off the streets and buildings. At eye level the soft, blue sky meets the bluffs and I wonder to what degree does this view, this up-in-the-airness affect my disposition. It is something else to live up high. To know that there are lives being lived below your feet. To watch the people of the city walk their dogs, wait for the bus, shout at each other, help each other, stumble home drunkenly, crash into each other, pay parking meters, push their babies in strollers, talk to themselves, hold hands with their lover, wait for the light to turn green, look up at the sky.

I play this game where I lay in bed, close my eyes and pretend the sound of whizzing cars are waves. Some days work better than others, as if some being was orchestrating the cars to mimic perfectly the rhythm of waves. Some days it just sounds like honking and sputtering and diesel emissions. A reality.

But reality is a fungible thing up here. Distance allows for interpretation, invention even. Up here there are scenes.

Shape of Days

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Here I am. And I feel like a bumbling, awkward teenager, which was unexpected. Keeping a blog has been a part of my weekly routine for many years and then I just stopped. I didn’t have the intention of stopping. But isn’t that so much of life? Choices disguised as inevitability?

I thought about this post as being an update on the past 7 months – a continuation of the conversation from my last post. Am I happy with my move downtown? How has life changed and how have I changed?

That may come but for now, while I’m still getting my sea legs, I’ll just report on this past weekend. About its almost perfectness. Maybe it was perfect. Maybe perfect is defined by our experiences and not the other way around.

Or maybe it’s best to talk about it not in terms of its perfectness but in its roundness. I like to think of days as having shapes. Mostly, it was the food that imbued the weekend with fullness and stillness. Time was parked, out of sight.

Saturday, we finally got out to the community patio and grilled pork tenderloin marinated in a cilantro-based sauce. Mike threw some pineapple on there as well. Shortly after we started up the grill a man and his father walked up with a plate of raw meat and we offered to share the grill. They had moved in two days ago. We talked about the city and food and were joined by the man’s brother and daughter – a 7 month old with a head full of dark curly hair. Immediately they asked if I wanted to hold her. I told them, as I was holding her, how heartwarming it is to see young children and babies in the city. The man looked at me dumbfounded and asked if there were not a lot of kids in the city. They were from another culture, one that doesn’t share the idea that you need a house and a yard to have a kid. These are the moments I live for. Where a sentence can bring you into another world, another way of looking at something, at the same thing. Before parting ways they gave us two pieces of their freshly grilled steak, perfectly juicy with a thin, crispy layer of char. A perfect appetizer for our pork, arugula salad and dark and stormy’ s.

We made it to the farmer’s market on Sunday and loaded up with peas, rhubarb, broccoli, salad greens, chives, cilantro (2 big bunches!), bacon and eggs. At home we put a few cups of quinoa in the rice cooker and as I cleaned the vegetables Mike threw together a big batch of cilantro sauce. Veggies were chopped and put into the cooked quinoa – a salad to last the week. Mike made rhubarb spritzers and the sun spilled into our apartment. Lunch was sliced leftover pork and pineapple on a toasted bagel with cilantro sauce, feta and sriracha. A sandwich to be remembered and made again. We capped off the weekend celebrating my niece’s one year birthday, eating tacos and getting soaked intermittently by giggling, running toddlers with squirt guns.