David Wojnarowicz

September 20, 2018

David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night, at the Whitney.
Such a great show—I joined the Whitney so I could go see it a couple more times (& see the Hoppers etc too). His paintings, photos, edge bring back the mid-80s, which never seemed so far away till I saw the docks & streets as they were then. Things never change all at once but they change totally, and in such a short time. I remember seeing him on 2nd Ave shortly before he died, already (& always) so far away.

Hey lady

September 18, 2018

who walked right out in front of me when I had the light & you didn't, causing me to slam on my brakes rather than hit you & skid in the light rain, in turn causing my bike to catapult & me to fly over the handlebars, while you went your karma-ugly way without a word or a hand up, you owe me $17 for the replacement brake cable. I'll wait out the sore wrist on my own.

I'm off tomorrow anyway for Yom Kippur.

Monday Quote

September 17, 2018

Tags: Diane Arbus

“Everything is so superb and breathtaking. I am creeping forward on my belly like they do in war movies.”
~ Diane Arbus

Isn't this great? I long for that feeling of awe & surprise, which happens so rarely. But it could hit more often, right? What can I do to get it?

Also, happy birthday to Hank Williams, William Carlos Williams, & the other half of the Double Yews, Annabel "Annie" Lee.

El in the middle

September 16, 2018

I am the most middling of middle children—the middle of 5 and the middle of 3. That is, middle of 3 close in age & 5 overall. My oldest & youngest sisters are both far away in age (17 & 10 years), whereas I'm the second of 3 kids born within 4 years.

The article (click on the caption to learn more about how wonderful we middles are) points out that with so many families now having just 1 or 2 kids, middle children are an endangered species. Not entirely—some 12% of women in their 40s have 4 or more kids. (more…)

My day

September 14, 2018

Man in a window, 6th Street. "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great." ~de Tocqueville.
Skip this one if you're interested only in deep thoughts. I've had a couple of small days of crossing ancient tasks off my to-do list: sending thank yous from last month & this, paying my yearly internet fee, buying pens at Staples & bread at the market, answering emails, cleaning out one big corner of my office—it's been smelling musty in here & I was a little worried there was a dead ferret among all the bags of melted cough drops, bookmarks, & unreadable notes. I sent my estimated taxes, a couple of invoices & a belated birthday postcard. I washed a canvas purse I haven't used in years but may now. And so on.

Not a memorable day perhaps but it's enjoyable to have tasks rather than crises.

Where to live

September 13, 2018

Vienna is now the world’s most livable city (passing Melbourne), according to a recent short piece in The Economist. Their rankings consider some 30 factors related to safety, healthcare, education, infrastructure, the environment. Six of the top 10 are in Canada or Australia, and midsize cities do better than large. Of course it depends on one's taste, expectations, desires, and more to make a place livable.

Why Vienna? I remember someone saying Vienna without Jews is nothing special. There's a searing documentary, Vienna Is Different, made 50 years after the Anschluss, & the people still took no responsibility—we were victims not monsters, was their basic attitude. (more…)


September 12, 2018

How can I get in a good groove when I'm interrupted all the time, in small ways (tea, anyone?) & large (the holidays started Sunday night, so I've just had 2 days off).

I like to think that in the way olden days this was the highlight of the year—a break from a rigid groove, a trip to the capital (Jerusalem), new smells & sights.... (more…)

Monday Quote

September 10, 2018

Tags: Virginia Woolf, Rosh HaShanah

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.
~ Virginia Woolf

In the spirit of the New Year, I will be thinking about the truth of myself all day today & tomorrow.

I'm writing this the day before, Sunday morning. Right now I'm mostly looking forward to tonight's dinner but I'm hoping I slip into the spirit of self-searching & repentance in shul.

I will also think about what truth's I want to tell about other people, per Woolf.

Norway poem

September 9, 2018

Tags: Norway

My first trip to Spain, I wrote a 5- or 6-page poem. This is all I managed in Scandinavia:

Scenery (Norway)

oh my god!
wow…. wow!
holy shamoly!
did you SEE that?!
did you see THAT?!!


September 7, 2018

Tags: Norway

Despite having a landscape shockingly unlike anything I've ever seen, I knew where I was in Norway. I have no doubt that's because I grew up with predominantly Scandinavians, so all the faces I saw were the faces of home, of my schools & friends & neighbors. I recognized the rugged yet delicate men, the many tall fair women, even the cadence of the language hit my ear like the old days. Almost everyone I know from South Dakota has had the experience of meeting someone with a pronounced Minnesota accent, only to discover that they are actually from a Nordic country. I remember being surprised once in the old Norwegian part of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, that I felt so oddly (and comfortably) at home—this after living in New York's very different demographic for decades. A couple of blondes & a Lutheran church or two & I was right back in Sioux Falls.